On April 1, a New York State law took effect that mandates law enforcement agencies statewide to video record interrogations of people accused of serious non-drug felonies, such as homicides and violent sex offenses. The requirement applies to all custodial interrogations that occur in police stations, correctional facilities, prosecutors’ offices and holding areas. Failure to record interrogations in such cases could result in a court determining that a confession is inadmissible as evidence.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the proposed measure into law last year as part of the FY17-18 state budget, along with other reforms to prevent wrongful convictions. “Recording interrogations can be critical in helping convict the guilty, free the wrongly accused and uphold faith and confidence in our criminal justice system,” Governor Cuomo said. The Innocence Project and many New York exonerees were instrumental in helping to pass the law.
“This is a critical reform that offers robust protections to the innocent by creating a clear record of what transpired in the interrogation room,” said Innocence Project Policy Director Rebecca Brown. “The Innocence Project also supports careful study of implementation efforts to assess the degree of uniformity in practice, the feasibility of expanding the crime categories for which recording is required over time and the reliability of various interrogation methods. In this way, the tremendous reform effort that has just begun to take hold can continue to be improved upon in the future.”